A NEW hub containing Swansea’s central library, event spaces and several other services has been recommended for planning approval.
Swansea Council wants to convert the former BHS and Miss Selfridge buildings on Oxford Street and Princess Way into a venue offering plenty of reasons for people to pop in.
If given the green light by the council’s planning committee on January 11, the new-look community hub could be ready in less than two years.
It would house the main library, council contact centre, learning facilities, family history centre, archive room, flexible working spaces and a cafe.
The facade would be revamped, and a green rooftop terrace created.
Site visits have been undertaken by those involved in the project to other libraries and public buildings, including one in Camden, London.
The council has consulted the public on what they think should and shouldn’t go in the hub, and it will ask for their thoughts again if the scheme is approved.
Planning officers support the hub project, although they noted that ground floor retail in the central area of Swansea was the most appropriate use of a building where possible.
Their report said the community hub was acceptable in planning terms and would generate a lot of footfall.
“While there would be a loss of retail frontage, there is not a shortage of available retail space in the retail centre at this time, and the footfall generating potential of this development would overall result in a significant benefit to the central area,” it said.
BHS traded there from the 1950s through to 2016. A What! store then moved in.
While the current central library has a car park by the Civic Centre, planning officers said there was no requirement for parking at the community hub.
Their report said there were nearly 1,500 parking spaces at other car parks within walking distance. Basement bike spaces would be provided for staff, and extra bike spaces were likely to be installed at street level.
Much of the former BHS and Miss Selfridge buildings overlook Castle Square, which is also to be revamped. The new-look square will have more greenery, two cafe-restaurant pavilions, and mini-fountains.
Meanwhile, council officers are considering an application by a developer to change two empty retail units next to the former BHS and Miss Selfridge buildings on Princess Way into cafe and restaurant use.
A document submitted as part of the proposals for 33 and 35 Princess Way said the applicant has spoken to the adjoining owners and tenants, who indicated that they supported the proposal.